Tigers fall to Titans

Last-minute field goal by Coal Ridge hands Hayden loss

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Trailing by one point and down deep in their own territory with less than two minutes left Friday night, Coal Ridge High School faced a third-and-long from its own 2-yard line.

Titans quarterback Keenan Grumley broke the huddle and strode to the line of scrimmage knowing this play might determine the outcome. As he dropped back to pass, Grumley spotted Bradey Gasaway running free across the middle and dumped it off to him. Gasaway shedded one tackle and sprinted down the left sideline with just one man to beat. Eventually, he was dragged down at Hayden's 20-yard line for a 78-yard gain.

"(Hayden) had been really concentrating on our receivers all game, doubling them up," Coal Ridge head coach Scott Parker said. "We noticed that there were openings in the flats, so we called a play to open up Bradey across the middle and give him a chance to make a play - and he did."

The Titans still had to score, and after three runs failed to garner them another first down, they were left with a fourth down with the game on the line from Hayden's 15-yard line. On came field goal kicker Alex Klein for the potential game-winner, and the crowd fell silent in anticipation of the dramatic moment.

The snap from Titans center Kevin Laidlaw was good, and Klein delivered a kick that was long and true from 32 yards out for the 16-14 win.

Grumley finished 6-of-11 for 198 yards and one touchdown - a 20-yard pass to Klein to open the scoring in the beginning of the second quarter, 7-0.

The 6'8" Klein always has a mismatch on the outside, and Grumley took a simple three-step drop, lobbed the ball to the front pylon, allowing Klein to go get it.

The lead was short-lived, though. On the ensuing kickoff, the Titans kicked the ball out of bounds and instead of accepting the penalty and taking the ball at their own 35-yard line, Hayden head coach Shawn Baumgartner elected to have Coal Ridge re-kick.

The decision paid off brilliantly as Jake Walker picked up the kickoff from his own 11, and after making one man miss, Walker broke to the outside, outrunning the Titan defenders 89 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7.

The Tigers gave the Titans all they could handle throughout the game. Senior Coy Letlow led Hayden's offense with 21 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 3. It put Hayden up, 14-13, with 10:40 to go in the contest.

It looked like the Tigers would pull off the upset on the Titans' home field after they pinned them down at the 3-yard line with less than two minutes to play, but their defense couldn't hold on.

"Coal Ridge outplayed us," Baumgartner said. "Coach Parker had them ready; they're really improved from last year, and we just didn't come out and play like we needed to tonight."

Senior tailback Gasaway had 112 yards on 22 carries, including a 27-yard touchdown run that gave Coal Ridge a 13-7 halftime lead. Klein had 69 yards receiving to lead the way for the Titans.

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